MotorcycleDaily.com – Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Brammo Empulse Finally Ready for Sale?

Roughly two years ago, Brammo announced a very cool looking prototype of an electric motorcycle it said would soon be on sale, the Empulse. 100 miles per hour and 100 miles in range were promised from the top model, but the Empulse seemed to fall into a black hole. Quite clearly, Brammo was having development problems and could not meet their projected on-sale date.

Two years later, and following a substantial investment by Polaris (owners of Victory Motorcycles), Brammo says its Empulse will be on sale within the next few months, and will soon announce final specifications. Those specifications will include a six-speed transmission and unique battery technology that Brammo claims can cool itself when necessary. According to this relatively recent story in the L.A. Times, the Empulse should be the “no excuses” motorcycle with more than 54 horsepower. The following specs are those contained on Brammo’s web site, but we understand that they will be updated soon, and we will bring you that information.

Empulse Specifications
Empulse 6.0 Empulse 8.0 Empulse 10.0
Empulse Motor
Motor Type: Sealed Permanent AC Synchronous Sealed Permanent AC Synchronous Sealed Permanent AC Synchronous
Peak Motor Power: 40kW 40kW 40kW
Max Motor Torque: Max Torque: 80Nm (59ft-lb) Max Torque: 80Nm (59ft-lb) Max Torque: 80Nm (59ft-lb)
Empulse Batteries
Battery Type BRAMMO Lithium-Ion Battery BRAMMO Lithium-Ion Battery BRAMMO Lithium-Ion Battery
Battery Pack Capacity: 6kWh 8kWh 10kWh
Battery Pack Voltage: 88.8V 88.8V 88.8V
Recharge Time: Approximately 6 hours Approximately 8 hours Approximately 10 hours
Empulse Performance
Empulse Performance: 100+ mph (160+ km/h) 100+ mph (160+ km/h) 100+ mph (160+ km/h)
Average Range: 60 miles (96 km) 80 miles (128 km) 100 miles (160 km)
Empulse Dimensions
Weight: 360lbs / 163 Kg 390lbs / 176 Kg 420lbs / 190 Kg
Seat Height: 32 inch / 81 cm 32 inch / 81 cm 32 inch / 81 cm
Length: 81 inch / 205 cm 81 inch / 205 cm 81 inch / 205 cm
Width: 31 inch / 78 cm (21 inch / 53cm peg to peg) 31 inch / 78 cm (21 inch / 53cm peg to peg) 31 inch / 78 cm (21 inch / 53cm peg to peg)
Overall Height: 42 inch / 1.6 cm 42 inch / 1.6 cm 42 inch / 1.6 cm
Wheelbase: 57 inch / 144 cm 57 inch / 144 cm 57 inch / 144 cm

77 Comments

  1. DaveA says:

    What a shock…it’s The March of the eCurmudgeons! Ugh.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. I’m sure towards the end of the 19th century people were all over horsenbuggydaily.com bemoaning the ridiculous steam or coal powered contraptions and various other mechanical conveyances because they were hugely expensive, couldn’t refuel itself automatically by walking around in a field, and all manner of other I-hate-change whinery. Then one day we woke up and there was a WRX-STi in the driveway.

    It’s better to aim at something and miss than to aim at nothing and hit, and I’m not sure that the Brammo is entirely representative of a miss.

    (I didn’t read all of the comments because I cant’ take the relentless pursuit of the negative, so if I’m the 27th person to say the same thing, I apologize. Maybe #28 will say it better and somebody will listen.)

    Report this comment

  2. Reinhart says:

    First off, get the 100 mile range thing out of your head if you plan on riding this bike with gusto. If you’re an old woman that likes to trundle along 5 mph below the speed limit then you might squeeze a hundred miles out of it before you plug it in for the night. This electric bike is expensive to buy and limited to city riding. If you’re buying it to save money, then you’re not being real. Buy a used Ninja 250 and ride it for years getting 60 to 70 mpg’s and then turn around and sell it for what you paid for it. That is how you save money. I’m not against electric bikes at all, just waiting for them to be competitive performance-wise and price-wise. It’ll be a while before we see these bikes as a viable option in the motorcycling world as the technology to make them competitive is not there yet. Anyone figure out why the Brammo has to be so darn expensive? I’m not about to spend more and get less for my motorcycling dollars.

    Report this comment

  3. Mark P. says:

    As some folks have already hinted at, given the problems with range and recharging times, perhaps electric vehicles need a new market model. If batteries were standardized and easily swappable, riders (and drivers?) could stop at a gas/charge station and quickly swap out their dead batteries for freshly charged ones. The gas/charge station could then charge them up for the next customer. People could also keep freshly charged spare batteries at their house like a spare tank of gas. It would be like what many people currently do with propane gas tanks for gas grills.

    Report this comment

    • Tom says:

      there’s an idea: a motorcycle driven off propane. Gas tank is standardized.

      Report this comment

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “If batteries were standardized and easily swappable, riders (and drivers?) could stop at a gas/charge station and quickly swap out their dead batteries for freshly charged ones”

      i’m right there with ya markP. but wait, that means motorcyclists would have to work TOGETHER for a common good…? hey good luck with that…! :( same as car-side, their all “jockeying” for position to have consumer’s believe the technology/chemistry in their motor/battery combo is the one you should buy.

      Report this comment

      • Gutterslob says:

        I have no problem with that model, but;

        Standardization of batteries will get trickier as more models with different specs come into the market. You need to account for size, shape, etc. Also quality control will get harder as time goes on, as more battery manufacturers flood the market. Free market, anti-monopolistic laws will make it certain that they do.

        Battery technology as a whole hasn’t really kept up with the rest of the tech industry, from what I’ve seen. There’s hardly any difference between Lith-Ion batteries made today and ten years ago. Sadly, that’s the area where we’ll need to see the biggest gains for electrobikes to become viable.

        That and 5.5″ – 6.5″ wide rear tyres. I refuse to ride anything with thinner rubber cos it’ll make me feel like I’m riding a moped, and don’t wanna go wider cos I’ll be grouped with the slow chopper people. :P

        Report this comment

        • Dave says:

          If the swapable battery standard model were exercised then it would become a limiter to bike spec. Lithium has made big gains in discharge output (durability) but they are near the limits of capacity. I big area of opportunity is limited capacitors to handle the bigger spikes (acceleration from stop, hard acceleration) which would be a dual-power electric hybrid.

          The other big thing that needs to happen is expectations need to be adjusted. 100 mile range must be accepted as a maximum and a robust American market for light commuter bikes needs to be established. The only thing that will do that is gas over $5/gal.

          Report this comment

  4. Reagan says:

    My lightly modified, 38yr old 500 makes 30 more horse power, will fillup in about 5 minutes, has roughly the same weight and has passenger pegs/dual seat. Even though the Brammo is much quieter for sure and my 500 is kick start only, the Brammo still has a way to go to make the sale.

    Report this comment

  5. Tim says:

    I don’t get people’s negativity toward electric bikes. I agree they are not yet ready for most riders, given range limitations, but the power is already interesting enough as to not be boring. It’s just a matter of time until they become a viable alternative for a large percentage of riders. If I lived in a warm weather city and could ride to work 250 days or so a year, and had a 20 mile commute each way, I’d be very tempted to buy one right now. Because much of my riding involves trips of over 100 miles, they’re not yet to the point where I could justify owning one, but I do appreciate the potential.

    Report this comment

    • Thoppa says:

      I’m all for electric bikes but for me the problem is that my city’s electricity is created by burning coal. A gasoline bike is more environmentally friendly, not to mention better in almost every measurable way. Same goes for hybrids. The electricity must be produced in a clean way before I’ll switch to electric, and the electric bike has gotta be competitive in every way with the gas one.

      Report this comment

      • Dave says:

        The emissions of a gas powered bike is surely more than an electric bike’s share of coal burned at a power plant.

        Report this comment

      • Tim says:

        Thoppa,

        you’re mistaken.
        First of all, coal powerplants’ efficiency is about 33%. ICEs are 20% at best. In other words, a coal-powered steam turbine-driven generator is at at least 50% more efficient than your motorcycle, so it needs to burn LESS fuel.
        Second, it is much easier to make one big powerplant cleaner than it is to fine-tune a 100,000 motorcycles.

        Report this comment

        • Thoppa says:

          It’s possible to make a power station cleaner, but that doesn’t define “environmentally friendly” – you are thinking about calorofic efficiency only. Take a serious look at the way power is created from resources to exhaust. Until power companies switch to solar, wind and hydro power, we’re just robbing Peter to pay Paul. Coal is the dirtiest fuel source. We need to move to fuel cell technology; battery bikes are a step sideways.

          Report this comment

          • Dave says:

            Fuel cell is also a step sideways. It takes more energy to make the fuel than the fuel makes.

            Coal fired electric is here and happening. Removing fueled vehicles in favor of electrics that don’t consume enough power to make a meaningful change in the amount of coal burned is a step forward in my eyes.

            Report this comment

  6. falcodoug says:

    O.K. So you wake up in the morning to go to work and think “oh no” I forgot to plug the bike in last night. Guess I will have to charge my phone to call off work today.

    Report this comment

  7. T. Rollie says:

    if it sounds like a food processor, I’m all for it. Press puree to first do a wheelie and then do 90!

    Report this comment

  8. Gutterslob says:

    Can I install a custom ROM and kernel on this thing for extra performance?

    Report this comment

  9. Gary says:

    Is it just me or does the “Brammo” brand name sound silly to anyone else? To me it sounds like a perfect name for a comic strip or an antacid. Doesn’t seem to fit a revolutionary new electric motorcycle company.

    Report this comment

  10. Brandon says:

    This is an electric “bike” that may be the turning point for me. If it really excellerates to 100! One of the best parts of my 25 mile commute home is the “back way”. And even on my xr250, there isn’t enough power for fun. a 650 twin sportbike like power is what I’m looking for. Just enough to have some fun. I like the idea of hopping on and just going without worrying about oil changes, valve adjustments, leaks in the garage, etc. The charge time looks a little long. How about a small solar charger that rolls up and hides under the seat to go with it? It could clip to the seat or tank while it sets in the sun at work all day? Not a full charge, but maybe add a little to make the ride home more possible.

    The reality is still that I can buy a nice used 650 for around 3,000 to 4,000 dollars, or a new one for under 10,000. So, unless it is price competitive and will not require gobs of maintenence, or expensive battery replacement, it’s still way out for most of us daily riders. Just compare cost difference vs gas price over time. And, electric bikes mean NO ROAD TRIPS! :(

    Keep making them better and less expensive!

    Report this comment

    • Tim says:

      From everything I’ve read about e-bikes already on the market, maintenance is virtually non-existent. It will need tires, chains, and brakes just like any other bike, but that’s it. No more valve adjustments or oil changes.

      As for the battery replacement, the battery will outlast the bike. The last calculation I saw (from a different ebike) showed the battery lasting 300,000 miles.

      Report this comment

  11. bumpinuglies says:

    I wish they’d make that in a scooter style. I hate having to part my legs, swinging it over a seat. Gimme a step through please…

    Report this comment

  12. Les says:

    100 mile range is not enough. Not when you have 6 to 10 hour charge time between those 100 miles.

    Once they double the range and find a way to make them cheaper then gas bikes… they will takeover the roads overnight.

    Still, it’s a lot more interesting than any of the coma inducing rides Honda have released in the last 10 years.

    Report this comment

    • Norm G. says:

      hmmmn, i was actually thinking a 100 mile range was pretty darn good…? while in hindsight i think it was poorly tuned, my old kawi wouldn’t go much more than that before it’s gas light would come on. is the battery in this thing “hot swappable” as they say…? it kinda has that look.

      Report this comment

    • Dave says:

      That point always comes up but I think it’s most important to recognize that most bikes are not ridden 40-50 miles in a sitting. Sure, there are the enthusiasts who ride simply to ride but most bikes are used for transportation and commuting. 100 miles is more than adequate for that.

      They do need to come down in price but while they’re expensive, they are closer to the mark then they get credit for considering they have no sales and profit foundation to fund development yet. It’ll come, it will just take some time.

      Report this comment

  13. Steve says:

    When you consider all the hauling of gasoline and the construction of all the gas stations and the ‘defense’ expense to keep oil flowing from overseas, just to subsidize the ‘range’ and convenience of gasoline engines, electric looks pretty good and extremely efficient. You could power one of these and never even be on the grid.

    Report this comment

  14. blackcayman says:

    A friend of mine at work built his own E-Bike on a 1990s Kwacker Ninja 500 chassis. It looks Frankensteinish to be sure – when he rides away, all you hear is the music from his stereo and the rattle of the chain. Yes…he is a Nerd/Geek and a full time I.T. manager.
    His commute is 30 miles one way and he doesn’t charge it when he gets here.
    There is something visceral between the throttle response and corresponding RPMs and wail or growl of the bike (Inline-4 or V-Twin)that is sorely missing on the E-Bike. I have always had aftermarket pipes on my bikes and love to hear the motor sing up and down the rev range.
    Maybe some day when there is parity between the prices of E-Bikes and Gas MCs …and a home solar panel is also cheap and ubiquitous, charging takes very little time – etc etc etc…Maybe I could see myself owning one – Maybe Not. Maybe an electric car to run errands and a Gas MC to have fun on!

    Report this comment

  15. TomS says:

    Unlike the other Luddites around here, I don’t have any issue with electric vehicles other than range, speed, and price. :) But those issues are all coming along with advances in battery technology and motor controllers, so it’s only a matter of time before an e-bike ends up in my garage. I’ll let the early adopters take the pain for now, though.

    Report this comment

    • Gary says:

      “I’ll let the early adopters take the pain for now, though.” An excellent philosophy. I learned the hard way how painful it can be (cough … android … cough) to be an early adopter.

      Report this comment

  16. Tony says:

    Hmmm.. Good Article/info and thanks for writing it. The Bike looks and sounds good, however knowing the range at what speed would be nice. Well, that and the price.
    Thanks, Tony

    Report this comment

  17. paul246 says:

    I can see police forces taking advantage of the stealth factor.

    Of course, I doubt the throttle blipping cruiser clowns would give this a second look, but who cares?

    I like the concept and the look of this bike.

    Report this comment

  18. SWISS says:

    How many bikers will just ride a radius of 100miles from their home?
    After 3 days, every single road and trail will be covered.
    And then what?

    Can the batteries be swapped out? How heavy?

    Report this comment

  19. frostbite says:

    C’mon you people – Think of the “Advantages” this motor – cycle has to offer, things like an electric blanket for winter riding, a handy one quart kettle and not to mention the toaster for toasting up a couple of crumpets to go with the cappuccino … all this at 100mph to … all I can say is that some people just would have that many gagets hanging off of this thing that it would be flat out making it out of the driveway … I suppose it must have something going for it though !!! I just can’t think of anything right now ….

    Bewildered Biker.
    frostbite.

    Report this comment

  20. Kim says:

    I like the fact that Polaris has put some money in it. I also love the looks of it. It doesn’t look like the typical nerdcycle. I agree with mpolans if it’s 100 mph for 100 miles that could work for me. Since my average Saturday morning ride is around 100 miles or so. However, these are tough times to introduce a new motorcycle, electric or petrol powered. Two Kawasaki dealers near me have gone belly up in the last 6 months. I will miss the howl of my gas guzzling sport bike when the time comes to buy an electric. Would think electric bikes and scooters would catch on big in Europe first since bikes are are used for commuting more over there. Even at $6.00 a gal I would probably ride my gas bike for pleasure. :)

    Report this comment

  21. Bob says:

    Please stop wasting our time with articles about
    Electric motorcycles. YAWN! Who cares?

    Report this comment

  22. mpolans says:

    If that is 100 miles at 100mph (as opposed to 40 miles at 100mph or 100 miles at 40mph), I’d be interested.

    Report this comment

    • Bob Krzeszkiewiz says:

      Unfortunately, your speculation of usage is correct. The way the published ratings are determined do not tell the truth about actual usage. Stop and go traffic and getting on and off the gas a lot eats a lot of capacity just like maintaining high speeds do. Even 65 mph on the freeway will not get you 100 miles. Perhaps 60.

      My morning commute is a 25 minute and 75 mph blast. I’m betting the 10.0 would get me to work and back home only. Forget about running an errand at lunch. Then it would be on the charger for the next 10 hours so I could get to work the next day.

      Report this comment

  23. PaulC says:

    I wonder if this bike emitts a bog EM field. The reason I ask is that I am a rider, in his 40′s, and have a pacemaker due to an irregular heart rythm. Anyways, I was wondering if a test with a Guass meter has been done to see it has accceptable EM emissions?

    Report this comment

    • Bob Krzeszkiewiz says:

      Paul, that is a seriously good question that has me wondering even about current bikes’ charging systems, especially the ones with high speed generators. I already know the TENS unit is a no-go. :( I am on the list for being in need of a pacemaker within the year.

      Report this comment

  24. bikerrandy says:

    Are these Brammo models operating range with or without the headlight on ?

    Report this comment

  25. uncle quinn says:

    it comes with a deck of cards so you can mount them in the spokes and let people know you are coming

    Report this comment

    • falcodoug says:

      I wish I said that :)

      Report this comment

    • blackcayman says:

      Funniest reply in a long while – here’s your pat on the back!

      Report this comment

    • Steve says:

      Not needed, many bikes, Goldwing for isntance are quiet and do not need the deck of cards. In fact, the blattity, blat, blat of unmuffled motorcycles is getting old and out of style unless you are a poser in need of attention.

      Report this comment

      • Gutterslob says:

        I’d rather have some form of noise as a safeguard against SUV driving soccer-moms who never use their mirrors when switching lanes.

        Plus, have you ever watched the Zero TT races? They were dull as f*#k without any noise.

        No worries though. I’m sure Apple will patent the Engine_Noise.mp3 soon. Then (assuming your Brammo comes with iTunes installed), you’ll be able to download DRM’ed Engine Noise albums and blast them exhaust speakers. Maybe we’ll even get some tools in Garage Band that’ll enable us to create our own noises and share them via the “Cloud”. I’ve always wanted to have a bike that sounded like a TIE-Fighter.

        Report this comment

        • John says:

          How many Km’s of range are you going to be willing to sacrifice to use those speakers though….. :)

          Report this comment

        • Reinhart says:

          Yes, electric machines are very dull to watch going around a race course. Adding synthetic sounds to them really sucks as it’s a very fake way to bring back what’s lost when going to electrics. It’s going to be a very different world, not better when we lose IC engines for good. I like motorcycles because of the sound, feel and visceral appeal of how these IC engines feel while accelerating beneath me. The sound of IC engines is what makes going to the races fun. What is more exciting to experience, a Top Fuel dragster or and thing with 600 cells that makes no sound at the starting line and a faint whirring while accelerating to the finish line? We will lose a lot when electrics become the standard.

          Report this comment

  26. Honyock says:

    Six speed tranny with an electric motor? Maybe I’m mistaken, but I thought that the big advantage of the electric motor was full torque regardless of RPM’s.

    Report this comment

  27. Trpldog says:

    All I can say is this – if one of these “Tron” bikes outrun me on Angeles Crest Highway in the twisties and then down the straight while on my 1050 Speed Triple, I’ll be forced to examine it further – and I shudder even at that. I enjoy the growling, spitting, wailing banshee sound of my unbaffled triple too much. It’s going to take more than just longer range and higher speeds to win me over to a Tron. An internal combustion motor is alive, the Tron bike is not. A Tron may even evolve to look really cool, but if you start up and idle a twin-canned fire-breathing Duc, than “start?” a Tron bike next to it… And then hum off into the distance. …My head is going to explode.
    As much as I dread the very thought of it, I think sooner or later, all of us gas guys are going to ourselves between the rock and the hard place on this issue – I feel the noose SLOWLY tightening.
    Sigh.

    Report this comment

  28. bartman50 says:

    Hmmm..Plug and Play. Hopefully no blue screens in the computer running it, or the necessity of doing a CTL-ALT-DELETE ;)
    Actually, it looks like a pretty solid design. I’m sure it’ll be wierd trolling down the road with only the breeeze and maybe some tire noise to go along with your ride.

    Report this comment

  29. Gutterslob says:

    At the moment, range and recharge time are still showstoppers for me (that and the fact that there are no Brammo dealers in my country if I ever considered one). I guess range isn’t a big issue for people living in cities, whom I assume are the primary target audience/customers for bikes like these, but most busy city-slickers only sleep an average of 5 hours a day, so having a commuting tool sleeping/charging longer than your iPad isn’t that attractive a prospect, I would wager.

    Still, it’s good progress. Best of luck to Brammo and the other electrobike manufacturers (or should I call em OEMs now?)

    Rear tyres are gettin fatter. A good sign in my book.
    Underseat cowl looks kinda weird, though. I assume it’s storage space for hip types to store their iWhatevers.

    Report this comment

  30. If this is the futre of bikes……I’ll find another hobby!

    Report this comment